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Capitol Police chief to step down

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/08/21, 01:21 am

Never in his 30 years of law enforcement in Washington had Chief Steven Sund encountered a situation like Wednesday’s riots, the man in charge of the police who protect Congress said on Thursday. He resigned on Thursday amid criticism the Capitol Police were unprepared to handle the unruly mobs that invaded the building and forced lawmakers into an hourslong lockdown. Police shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was among a crowd that tried to push its way into the House of Representatives. Three other people died of medical emergencies during the riot. Authorities identified them as 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, of Athens, Ala.; 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland, of Kennesaw, Ga.; and 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips, of Ringtown, Pa. The Capitol Police in a statement confirmed that Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday from injuries he sustained while responding to the protests.

Did police do enough? Sund called the events unprecedented and said officers acted heroically under the circumstances. Once lawmakers, staffers, and members of the press had taken shelter, rioters roamed freely through the Capitol, some taking mocking selfies and others defacing and destroying property. Police eventually secured the building with the help of the National Guard.

What about the rioters? Police made some arrests during the unrest on Wednesday, but many of the agitators seen in widespread photos taken inside the Capitol remain at large. The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said his office had prepared 15 federal criminal cases related to the unrest and planned to file more, including possible charges of sedition. Richard Barnett of Gravette, Ark., was photographed with his feet up on a desk in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “If you are a wicked attorney get in touch with me,” he told KFSM-TV of northwestern Arkansas. “I’m going to need one or two.”

Dig deeper: Read Joshua Raimundo’s report on what motivated Trump’s supporters in Washington on Wednesday.

Editor's note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Thu, 01/07/2021 06:35 pm

    Definitely, it seems like with weeks of warning, the police and security were deficiently unprepared. They knew Trump had rallied the troops to take back the stolen election. How could they have been taken by surprise? How did outsiders actually get in the capitol during a joint session? I don't know protocol, but can the public just walk in these days? I'd think they would be confined to the Mall area, and barricaded from approaching the entrances.

    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 10:13 am

    It seems like the Capitol Police at best underestimated the threat or thought it would be a congenial crowd. I still can't imagine how the moment they breached the perimeter, the capitol wasn't physically locked down. I've never been to DC, though ... maybe it's a bigger deal to do that than I imagine. But I think your questions should be carefully considered.

    A lot of people have been making comparisons to the BLM protests. In my hometown of Detroit, we had protests every day for over a month. Not everybody was peaceful, but the police were out in huge numbers, and they quickly identified the people trying to commit violence and separated them. One night when things were particularly tense and the curfew was violated, the police arrested 44 people. One police car was vandalized, but there was relatively little damage -- because the police were prepared, community leaders stood up and made it clear that they supported protest, not riots, and because the city government had their back.

    You can't control a mob -- but often, proper security and policing procedures can seriously reduce the fallout from one.

    I'm not lecturing ... just wondering why this got so far. 

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 12:08 pm

    Tim, thanks for your comments. Security in my world is standard and basic, from being in the Air Force. You secure doors, windows, and double check them. You have badges and ID cards to get onto base, and gain access to buildings. The one time I was in Washington, long before 9/11, there were guards inside all the museums. To tour the Capitol and/or the White House, you had to make reservations through your congressman and a lottery. After 9/11, locally, they check bags and purses at baseball stadiums. We have a police officer or two at any large gathering, including the symphony! Symphony goers must have the potential for rowdy behavior! I'll be watching new developments here. After I posted, the capital security chief mentioned in the article resigned, so I'm sure the facts will emerge. I have not had any success finding the chain of command here. What agency overseas this police force? Homeland security? Secret service? Someone dropped the ball on this one.

  • EG
    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 09:52 am

    The level of prep by law enforcement for this protest compared to others is laughable and has set the stage for more violent protests in the future.  People have been protesting things non-violently like climate change, racial justice, and other things only to be arrested by the hundreds or thousands.  These people riot, break into the capital building, steal stuff, and destroy government property, and they arrest a couple dozen and the rest get to go home.  Now all the people who have been arrested for being non-violent see that you can get away without being arrested by being violent are going to do just that, be violent.  I just can't even put into words how damaging to our society what happened was we are going to be dealing with it for YEARS.

    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 04:38 pm

    It was the same level of enforcement shown across the country this year, not just in DC. They wanted this to make Trump look bad. How many of the maim and burn looters were arrested?

    Just remember WHO BENEFITED from the invasion of the Capitol. It was VERY TIMELY. They were just about to debate the election. Did someone INSIDE the Capitol give the go-ahead? We'll never know because the people who used to be FOR our country are helping people like Pelosi take us down. 

  •  CaptTee's picture
    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 02:11 pm

    Who were the rioters who took mocking selfies?

    I suspect they were more connected to Antifa or Democrat connected group than any Republican, Trump, or Conservative organization.

    It is so easy for bad actors to infiltrate a protest to discredit it.

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Sat, 01/09/2021 01:22 pm

    Almost every news source has identified several of them from their pictures. They are not Antifa or Democrat, but Trump supporters and QAnon. Buffalo guy is identified. The hairy bearded one wore his company lanyard from Baltimore and got himself fired. There was a republican state legislator from (I think) Arkansas. The woman that was shot was part of the rioters trying to break in. She was a heavy Trump supporter. Maybe some of them were connected elsewhere, but the ones front and center were indeed bad actors, looking for a reason to riot.

    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 04:23 pm

    Pelosi: “If you are a wicked attorney, get in touch with me,”

    She doesn't need any more wicked anything. She has a whole building full which she has used again and again against Trump.

    She should be put in jail for TREASON.

  • JimVC
    Posted: Sat, 01/09/2021 12:09 am

    Note that I am absolutely not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but please get a copy of the Constitution and look up the definition of treason. No matter how egregious Pelosi's behavior may be, it does not constitute treason. Also (as noted by OldMike below), it was not Pelosi who said that.

    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 04:28 pm

    Ms Langdon:

    Thank you for not calling everyone who went into the Capitol "Trumpers" or names like that.

    Antifa has ALWAYS been there when there was a Trump or any other rally they could turn into chaos.

    Just because someone is military doesn't mean they are FOR Trump. When Obama wanted police shot during his reign there was at least one military sniper who shot police.

    There will be Antifa rioting long after Trump is gone, but I'm sure Pelosi and the press will blame Trump. 

    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 05:03 pm

    This is my SURPRISED FACE.

    "One of at least six individuals from the state of Michigan arrested in Washington, D.C. this week in connection with protests over the 2020 election wasn’t in our nation’s capitol to back Donald Trump, but to “keep an eye” on Trump supporters, according to his father.

    25-year old Logan Grimes was busted with a handgun, “high capacity” magazine, and “unregistered ammunition” on Wednesday afternoon."  from Bearing Arms

    Posted: Tue, 01/12/2021 11:16 am

    Thanks for sharing! That checks out with a local paper as well.

    Best quote from the kids' dad: "'Now thanks to that man that I just despise, Donald Trump — who I did not vote for and did everything I could to make sure he would finally leave office — has served me up one last injustice by making sure my son got arrested so he could stick his pride out,' he said."

    What? Donald Trump is responsible for his son breaking local gun laws?

    This world has gone mad.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 01/08/2021 06:05 pm

    I can tell you the man who was sitting in Pelosi's office with his feet on a desk was not Antifa.  He's from my area of Arkansas, fairly well known in local conservative circles, and a gun rights advocate, named Richard Barnett.  From what little info is available so far, apparently the FBI contacted him and told him they needed to question him. Then he apparently voluntarily  drove to their state office at Little Rock (about 230 miles) where he was placed under arrest. 

    But there's more:  since his picture made the news and he was identified, the mayor of Barnett's town of Gravette, AR, reports he has received several calls making death threats and various other hate messages. 

    So let's not get all wrapped up in any idea the nuts who invaded the Capitol are somehow the only, or most heinous or radical bunch in America. 

    And by the way, NEWS2ME, it was not Pelosi who said "If you are a wicked attorney, get in touch with me..." it was Barnett, in a local TV interview.